Caryn’s Carrot Cake, or Caryn Cake: Gluten-Free


Carrot Cake has always been one of my favorites, but only when it’s made my way. That’s why I call this cake, Caryn Cake. There’s a secret ingredient that as of today, is no longer a secret! It’s Mace. Mace is a spice made from the outer covering that surrounds nutmeg seeds. The flavor is similar to that of nutmeg, but with its own subtle peppery flavor that gives this Carrot Cake it’s “je ne sais quoi”. I just know you will love it.

2 ½ cups hot water
3 tablespoons ground flax seed in 6 tablespoons water (lightly beaten)
1 cups agave nectar
3/4 cup vegan butter like Earth Balance
1 1/2 cups sugar (evaporated cane juice) – use 1/2 cup less sugar if you don’t want it very sweet
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 cups rice flour
½ cup sorghum flour
1 ½ cups tapioca flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mace
½ cup ground almonds (if allergic to tree nuts, or use sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
1 cup finely grated carrots

Two packages Vegan Cream Cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, or to taste
1 tsp almond extract or vanilla
1/3 cup organic coconut

To make the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350oF. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans, or cupcake tins for 2 dozen cupcakes. You can use any size pans you like. The size and shape will determine how long it needs to cook. See step 11 below.
2. Cream sugar with margarine in a medium size bowl.
3. Slowly beat in flax seed mixture, agave, vinegar and vanilla.
4. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended.
5. Combine flours, almonds, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon and mace in a large bowl.
6. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, beating at low speed until blended.
7. Stir in hot water, 1/2 cup at a time. Mix well. Batter should be thick.
8. Stir in the carrots
10. Pour batter into greased pans, filling each halfway.
11. Bake for about 40 min or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn off oven; leave cake in oven for 10 min to gradually cool (prevents cake form falling). Mini cupcakes will take about a half hour, average cupcakes take about 35-40 minutes. One large round will take about 60 minutes. If you make one large cake, cover the top with foil after 30 minutes to prevent top from burning.
12. Remove cake from oven and allow to completely cool. Remove from pan and top with frosting.

To make the frosting:
Blend vegan cream cheese, almond or vanilla extract and sugar with a fork. Don’t use an electric beater, it can make it runny. Beat with fork until smooth, do not overbeat. Let chill several hours.

Option – Toast the Coconut:
The frosting can be topped with plain coconut or toasted. To toast the coconut spread it out on a sheet pan and toast at 300oF for several minutes. Keep and eye on the sheet – it can brown quickly and burn. Shake the sheet ever one of two minutes so the coconut gets evenly toasted. When lightly browned, remove coconut from over and let cool.

To Assemble Cake: Frost top of one layer, place the other layer on top and cover with frosting. Add coconut to top and sides by gently tossing it onto the frosting. Coconut that does not stick can be pressed into the frosting with a knife.

  2 comments for “Caryn’s Carrot Cake, or Caryn Cake: Gluten-Free

  1. Hi Caryn,

    I had a question/concern that about the rice flour…With all the talk these days of the arsenic levels in rice would it be possible to substitute the it with something else (or would ya say it’s not that big of a deal to use rice flour in baking every now and then, especially when so many of us are substituting quinoa for rice these days). I was thinking something like the Gluten Free Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking flour where the first ingredient is garbanzo bean flour. I guess making a substitute like this could change the types/quantities the other flour ingredients too – sorghum, tapioca, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum…. I guess ya gotta be something of a gluten free food chemist to sort it all out – LoL. Anyway, thanks in advance for posting your thoughts of this subject Caryn. Kind Regards, Steve

    • Hi Steven, You make some very good points. It is a good idea to reduce or eliminate rice consumption because of the arsenic. We eat less rice than we used to and when we do have it we make our own blend of organic California Brown Basmati with organic Red and Black rices and organic Millet. I have been working on moving away from the All Purpose GF mix myself, because it is not organic! There is always something. I have been making my own mixes with organic organic Oats, organic Millet and organic Garbanzo. I like Sorghum but don’t see it in the stores and would have to order it online. You don’t need to be a chemist (I have Bachelor and Master degrees in chemical engineering), you just need to like puttering in the kitchen, celebrating the failures as learning experiences. – Caryn

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